Munrobagging with kids; a checklist

An Outdoors Family munrobagging as a family

Getting outdoors here in Scotland is something we can’t get enough of as a family. We’ve had countless adventures wildcamping, getting away in our campervan, canoeing or challenging ourselves on some of Scotland’s best mountains.

Munros are mountains in Scotland that are over 3000ft. There are 282 munros and people who climb them are called munrobaggers. Those who ‘bag’ them all are ‘compleatists’. We’re just going to put it out there now that we don’t think of ourselves as serious baggers nor do we think we’ll ever compleat….possibly…

There are many reasons why people bag munros. For us, it’s a list of 282 different mountains to walk up. This list helps us see past local hills and settling for familiarity.

We’ve had days where we’ve summited just in time to see the most amazing sunrise, days where the sun shines and views go on for miles, days where there’s nowhere we’d rather be, just living in the moment.

And then we’ve had days where it’s all gone wrong. Where the
wind has been stronger than predicted and temperatures a lot colder. I’ve left the house carrying two left boots, or we’ve forgotten baby’s insulated suit, or our eldest’s waterproof jacket.

But, in the hope that not every one leaves the house with two left boots, here are a few tips to increase those good munrobagging days.

  • Check weather forecast on MWIS and Met Office – Remember windchill, windspeed (less than 20mph on the summit is a fairly good rule of thumb for smaller kids). See what the worse weather is you’re likely to encounter from the forecasts and decide whether you and your family are happy with it.
  • Check route – Walkhighlands is a fantastic resource for checking routes, ascent, parking info etc. Total distance + total ascent could potentially equal a very tired, very grumpy kid if you’ve picked a very big mountain. Mountaineering Scotland also has some great suggestions for route planning on their website.
  • Pack map and compass + GPS if you have it.
  • Pack poop kit – because let’s face it, movement encourages, ahem, movement and kids always seem to get the urge in the most scenic of places… Always follow the leave no trace rules (Dig a hole and carry out your tissues! Don’t leave it for others to find!)
  • Pack 1st aid kit, bothy bag or emergency bivvy bag, torch and whistle. The emergency foil bivvy bags can be bought very cheaply online and are so lightweight. There’s definitely no excuse not to have one in your bag!
  • Pack bag – Remember waterproofs for everyone in your party, hats / gloves, a spare insulation layer for everyone, suntan lotion / sunglasses if it’s forecast to be a sunny day + nappies etc if baby is coming along.
  • Food and water – High energy (chocolate buttons works for our family adventures), slow release food such as flapjack and sandwiches etc. Don’t forget to carry enough water or if you have a filter and know there are rivers along your route, carry less! Remember to pack out all your rubbish
  • Don’t forget baby carrier, baby insulated suit, 1 x left boot and 1 x right boot for everyone…..

And lastly…

  • Involve your kids in the planning, that way they’ll feel more involved with it and may even take charge and lead the way!
  • Work up to the really big days
  • Look for the adventurous bits that will leave an impression on your kids – spend time by the rivers making splashes, look under that 20th rock, pick up that 11th stick. Let your kids have a bit of fun and chances are, they’ll want to do it again
  • Go at their pace
  • Have fun! But be flexible with your plans, the summit will always be there if you need to change plans for any reason

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